Tag Archives: fad diets
It doesn’t matter if it’s a beginner or advanced trainer, a lot of people are always looking for a way to speed up their results. Some people may think if they try the next new magic weight loss diet, or take that cutting-edge wonder supplement, their results will rapidly increase without the need of doing old fashioned hard work. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to improving our bodies and in reality we should be focusing on keeping it simple, training hard and eating healthy.
After seeing countless advertisements and news reports on the latest fad product (many of which I have written about in the past), I was so glad to hear a news bulletin today stating that the Federal Government's Health Task-force is introducing much stricter guidelines that weight loss products must adhere to. This came about after the government found no credible proof that fad dieting is viable. This notion has been backed by the Dietitians Association of Australia, and certainly by us at Amino Z.
My thoughts on the matter - it's about time!
I'm not entirely sure what the new guidelines are just yet, but with so many bogus products currently on the market, it's no wonder that so much time and money is wasted on products that promise the world and often deliver very little.
Fad diets do not work - period. Some people may be successful in losing weight following a fad diet, however this is due to changed lifestyle habits and not the fad diet itself. The fad diet can sometimes be responsible for a shift in one's attitude and act as a cornerstone in developing a new long-term approach to weight loss. Fad diets, in themselves, are short-term, quick-fixes that have no long-term viability.
Nearly three years ago, I wrote one of our most popular articles, "Fad Diet, Fad Result". After having published this article, I followed it up with a more objective take on the subject with "Yo-Yo Dieting, No-No Dieting". Both cover exactly the same topics, because fad dieting is what paves the way to yo-yo dieting.
Fad dieting will not deliver desirable long-term results. The reason is because in reality, such diets cannot be adhered to on a long-term basis. For example, I am yet to meet anyone who is able to live happily and consistently off one whole-food meal a day and two protein shakes for more than a year. In theory, they sound great, but in the real world, they are just not viable.
As a result of following such an approach as advocated by many extremely unhealthy fad diets currently available within Australia, this can cause muscle loss and a lowering in your metabolic rate. The reduction in your metabolic rate effectively means that you process less calories per day - making it much easier to gain the weight back on. In some circumstances, you can actually begin to break down organ tissues, which can cause permanent long-term damage. In addition to all of this, there are a plethora of other health risks that you run when continually following diets of this nature.
It is no wonder that people who go from one fad diet to the next (commonly known as yo-yo dieting) gain more weight than what they lose. Initially, they may lose a significant degree of body-weight quickly (which can be extremely unhealthy in itself), but upon coming off that fad diet and re-initiating old lifestyle habits, the body-fat will inevitably pile back on. Unfortunately, this results in two of the most common frustrations of dieters:
- Lost Money
- Wasted Effort
As a professional in the industry, I can completely understand that fad diets can be very tempting, especially when you feel that you have exhausted all other options. It can be so tough when you feel like a failure. But you have to understand that the healthiest, most sustainable and viable approach is to redevelop your lifestyle.
If you feel completely lost and overwhelmed, here is a good place to start, How to Lose Weight.
I finished listening to the latest audio-book, "Lead the Field" by Earl Nightingale this morning as I returned back to the office from a client I train in the city. In the audio programme, he discusses a very powerful concept - the challenge, and the rewards that are brought about from a challenge. Although a self-help book, this is a very powerful philosophy that has a great degree of relevance to health and fitness. So, I thought that I would translate this concept to have relevance to this industry and add a few other concepts I have learnt from other books.
A challenge forces us to step outside our comfort zone and bring out the best in us. It requires us to "think" and really apply ourselves. By thinking, we learn and become creative. A challenge only brings about failure when we give up and brings about victory when we find a solution.
By embarking upon a challenge, say in this context, a health and fitness goal, it gives us a sense of direction. This gives us something to strive for, keeping us happy and motivated.
The real power of a challenge is when you finally achieve your goal - the reward and satisfaction that you achieve. For had you not set about this challenge (note, it's a challenge - something to test yourself), you would not be able to appreciate the work involved to achieve this goal. You are now far wiser for having strived to achieve that goal with hard work, consistency and dedication.
Now, let's assume that you wish to lose 50kg of weight. Which would you rather:
- A pill that will make you lose the weight within a week (no, there isn't such a thing, but it's just an analogy).
- Spending the time and effort to change your lifestyle, exercise and eat in a healthy fashion, taking a year to accomplish the goal.
Let's consider both options.
Option 1: A pill (a magic one at that). Sure, you lose 50kg almost immediately. But what do you gain from this? What did you learn? How did you grow as a person?
The answer - nothing. Whilst you may improve your health by no longer being grossly overweight, you get absolutely NOTHING out of taking a pill. You stayed within your comfort zone and you're exactly the same person, just 50kg lighter. In fact, without the reliance on this "pill", you will revert back to your original weight in very little time because you are exactly the same as a week ago - your body just needs a little time to catch up.
Replace "pill" with "fad diet". Now consider the logic behind fad dieting: no effort required, large amounts of weight loss. It seems idealistic until you realise that the non-existence of a challenge means that nothing is gained at all. The ability to appreciate the weight loss and sustain the weight loss is greatly undermined by the somewhat superficial focus on "fast and easy weight loss".
This is unfortunately what results in yo-yo dieting. Many people lost vast amounts of weight in the short-term. But far fewer people can keep it off.
Now consider option 2. You spend the time to learn about yourself and find out what you can enjoy whilst making positive progress toward your goals. You set goals and achieve them. You put in the hard yards and earn your weight loss. You can therefore not only appreciate the effort involved in getting to your goal, but you are also a stronger person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You have learnt about yourself on many levels - not just what you look like 50kg lighter.
Put in this context, whilst option 2 may take 52 times longer to achieve your goal weight, it still seems the more desirable option doesn't it? I mean, you get so much more than "just" weight loss from option 2.
The irony is that with the majority of people, one year later, people who pursue option 1 would be unhappier (in themselves and their body), unhealthier and less motivated than option 2 pursuers.
But hey, it's human nature to go for the short-term fix. So if you've done this in the past then that's nothing to feel down or guilty about - it's hardwired into our genetics. We all want instant results without the hard work! But having read this post, I hope that you can see that short-term "fixes" have very little credibility in the long-term. The hard work is where the true rewards lie.
I am very much AGAINST diets. They are quick fixes and will never last in the long term. You will find all the other professionals on this website share my opinion too - fad diets do not work, period.
The important thing to learn when losing weight is to change your lifestyle habits permanently. At the end of the day, if you go on a diet for a certain amount of time, you will most likely lose weight. But when you come off this diet, that is when you begin to realise that you won't know how to eat for the rest of your life. In the long term, the weight will inevitably creep back on.
Generally speaking, depending upon your body and your lifestyle, you will require X amount of calories per day to maintain your current body weight. During your 'diet', typically you will consume LESS than X calories in order to lose fat. When you lose the desired amount of fat, in a sedentary state you will require LESS calories than before because you are carrying around less body mass. The problem is that many people will revert to their previous eating habits and thus gain all the fat back. Often additional fat is gained from binging as a result of people unhealthily starving themselves of foods during their 'diet'. This is what is commonly known as yo-yo dieting.
So how to combat this problem? Number one is to educate yourself. You should know what a calorie is. You should also know what proteins, carbohydrates and fats are and why each of these nutrients are required by your body. To get you started, I have written a very brief overview at:
So once the fat has been lost, a new caloric intake must be established. You should find foods that you love to eat and integrate them into a healthy lifestyle eating plan. Lean meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and eggs can all be extremely healthy when all eaten in moderation. But remember - if you struggle to stick to an eating plan in less than 24 hours then find another alternative - you want something you can enjoy for more than 24 years.